I wanted to share my story about how Dr. Rector of Boulder, Colorado, and the BHR gave me my life back.
About 4 years ago I began to have extreme pain in my right groin area for about a month, then it switched to my left groin. For the following year I suffered in so much pain that I could only get about 3 hours sleep each night. Each time I rolled over while sleeping the pain would wake me up and keep me up the rest of the night. I found myself becoming depressed and irritable, and I suspect that even my personality was changing from being a happy fun person to a grumpy old man.
During that year I had doctors give me a wide range of diagnoses including pulled psoas muscle, IT band, scoliosis of the lower spine, and overtraining. Yet, I had all the classic symptoms of hip osteoarthritis (groin pain, lower back pain and pain along the outer side of my knee). I then realized that running seemed to cause the pain to become worse. For the following year I managed the pain with non prescription drugs and limiting my activities. Limiting my activities was the worse for me. I was very active and competed in off-road (XTERRA) triathlon, Brazilian Jui-jitsu, whitewater kayaking, weight lifting and snowboarding.
Finally, a doctor in Boulder, Colorado (not an M.D., but a Ph.D. in Education!) correctly diagnosed my condition as severe osteoarthritis of both hips. He told me I needed to make a life-style change and get full hip replacements. When I found out that full hip replacements meant a recreational life-style change I was devastated. For the next year I was in denial. I did not want that type of “treatment”. I had a feeling that someday an alternative would come along. In the meantime, I’ll adjust my lifestyle, stop running (which is the worse activity for hip osteoarthritis), and I’ll try supplements that stimulate cartilage growth (I was desperate to find an alternative).
In the Spring of 2006 my wife and I and our 3 youngest children went to Disney World on Spring break. Just the walk from the parking lot to the inside of the park created so much pain that I spent most of the day on a bench while my family had fun. It seemed that in just 2 years I went from a fun, active dad (in 2002 I won a first place medal at the Brazilian Jui-jitsu Pan Am games and was also XTERRA Rocky Mountain Regional Champion for my age group) to a very old man.
During this vacation I had resigned myself to seriously consider full hip replacements, find other athletic activities compatible with full hip replacements, and get my life back to being pain-free. Then a triathlete friend of mine turned me on to a book entitled “Hip Replacement or Hip Resurfacing, A Story of Choices” by Peggy Gabriel. After reading this book and communicating with other BHR patients on the surfacehippy website, I new that this was the treatment for me. All I needed to do was to be patient and wait for this technique to be approved by the FDA. Fortunately for me, the BHR was approved by the FDA that summer.
A few months later I learned that Boulder Community Hospital offered this treatment through Dr. James Rector. I attended a lecture by Dr. Rector in October, 2006, and immediately made an appointment with him for a consultation. I found him to be very knowledgeable about hip osteoarthritis (he has 20 years experience in full hip replacements), and excited about the BHR allowing his patients to return to active lifestyles. But what impressed me most about Dr. Rector was his interest in me as an individual and the uninterrupted time he spent with me in consultation thoroughly answering all my questions and concerns. His entire staff, and especially his nurse, Michele, are caring, punctual, knowledgeable, personable individuals.
I had my left hip resurfaced on January 12, 2007, and my right hip on February 28, 2007. My recovery was very fast (went back to work on January 16 and March 5, respectively), was cycling on my trainer by the 7th day post op, and swimming 2 weeks post op., and jui-jitsu and whitewater kayaking 3 months after the right hip resurfacing. I was totally out of hip pain within a week after the 2nd surgery.
In August 2007 I “competed” in 2 off-road triathlons (I was not running yet, but fast walking). But most important I was myself again, playing with my kids (ages 7, 11, 17,22) and doing the recreational activities I enjoy with my friends.
And now Dr. Rector just gave me the OK to start running again. I have already selected all the triathlons that I will compete in next season, and am excited to start training and competing with my friends.
I want to thank all those on the surfacehippy website for their support, for Peggy Gabriel sharing her experiences in her book, my family for their patience with me the previous 3 years, and for Dr. Rector and his staff for helping me get my life back.